PII – Personally Identifiable Information

Personally Identifiable Information (PII), or Sensitive Personal information (SPI), as used in information security and privacy laws, is information that can be used on its own or with other information to identify, contact, or locate a single person, or to identify an individual in context.

Some examples:

  • Full name (if not common)
  • Home address
  • Email address (if private from an association/club membership, etc.)
  • National identification number
  • Passport number
  • IP address (when linked, but not PII by itself in US)
  • Vehicle registration plate number
  • Driver’s license number
  • Face, fingerprints, or handwriting
  • Credit card numbers
  • Digital identity
  • Date of birth
  • Birthplace
  • Genetic information
  • Telephone number
  • Login name, screen name, nickname, or handle

The following are less often used to distinguish individual identity, because they are traits shared by many people. However, they are potentially PII, because they may be combined with other personal information to identify an individual:

  • First or last name, if common
  • Country, state, postcode or city of residence
  • Age, especially if non-specific
  • Gender or race
  • Name of the school they attend or workplace
  • Grades, salary, or job position
  • Criminal record
  • Web cookie

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